BY SAM ALFAN.
Two residents of Mandera have moved to court seeking to stop the county government from spending over Sh700 million in supplementary budget.
Mohamed Okashi Mohamed and Hassan Ahmed Nur are seeking orders to suspend the implementation of the county’s second and third supplementary budgets for the financial year 2019-2020.
The budget was has been proposed by the county executive committee member for finance and passed by Mandera County Assembly.
“This court do issue an injunction prohibiting and suspending the implementation of Mandera county second and third supplementary budgets for the financial year 2019-2020 by the respondents themselves or agents pending hearing and determination,” the two urged the court.
Mohamed and Nur are also seeking conservatory orders prohibiting the controller of budget from approving the withdrawal of the funds.
Justice Weldon Korir directed the two to serve the governor, Mandera County Government, the county assembly and finance executive committee member electronically and matter to be mentioned on May 15 for further directions.
According to the court documents, the two claim that Mandera County government and it senior officials have committed numerous and various acts in the course of their duties that are contrary to and violation of the constitution.
They also claim that Mandera county assembly has become an extension of the county executive and has time and again been used as rubberstamp decisions by Governor Ali Roba’s administration.
They said the MCAs have absolutely shirked off and abdicated its oversight role and sold for cheap handouts from the county government at a great prejudice to the public who have long lost confidence in both of them.
On February 27 and April 29 this year, executive committee finance member prepared and developed the Mandera county second supplementary budgets for 2019-2020 financial year for Sh423 million.
The CEC also proposed a third supplementary budget of Sh296 million. Both were prepared without subjecting it to public participation but were submitted to the county assembly who hurriedly, clandestinely and in a manner that reeks of impunity and passed the budget without giving it proper consideration.
They argued that the two supplementary budgets do not in any way shape or form prioritize county government expenditure which ensures allocation of scarce resources to those programs which have greatest impacts to the residents of Mandera County.
They said the county should have prioritised improving growth, providing and maintaining employment opportunities, reducing poverty and achieving equitable distribution of resources.
“The grounds given in support of the various estimates were not made and developed without the involvement and consultation of the various technical departments hence the lack of documentation in support and proof thereof,” the two claimed.
They added that the budgets do not facilitate any form of efficiency and co-ordination in so far as its failure to give defined outcomes, priority objectives, expected outputs and performance indicators for the defined programs as provided in the Mandera county integrated development plan of 2018-2020.
The two residents claim that the approved supplementary budgets are avenues of misappropriation, stealing, corruption and conduit to siphon public funds for personal gain since its not based on basic principles that necessitate supplementary budgets for a public entity under section 135 of public management Act ,2015 (PFMA) but it is meant to cover up corruption in waiting.
Section 129 of the PFMA stipulates that ” The county executive committee member for finance shall submit to the county executive and county assembly the budget estimates and other supporting documents for approval” and there have been no supporting documents for both budget estimates contrary to this provision.
They argue that the second Supplementary budget Notes for the financial Year 2019-2020 dated February 27, 2020 purports that an amount of 350 Million was established to be payable as pending bills for the year 2019. The said audit reportwas neither made public nor provided for scrutiny and authentication at the point of passing and or approval of the subject budget in contravention of section 129 of the PFMA which stipulates and contemplates the provision of documentation in support of budget estimates.
In the Auditor General report, it was noted that on the County executive of Mandera for the year ended June 30, 2018. that the account payable ledgers with crucial information such as suppliers names, purchaser order number, date of invoicing and amount paid and those outstanding for respective pending bills were not maintainedwith the conclusion that “the legality, authenticity and validity of the pending bills could not be ascertained.” and questioned how could the county assembly approve an allocation for payment of bills alleged to be pending without
The two claim that the approval contravenes Article 10(1) and 2(c)(d) on the national values and principles of governance and the purported approval violates the provisions of Artide 201 of the Constitution on principles of public finance which inter alia require, openness and accountability in financial matters and the prudent and responsible use of public money which requirements the county assembly Completely ignored.
They argue that the 275,000,000 million pending bills in the second supplernentary budget is fictitious and fabricated to suit individual interest and steal from the public and the proposed pending bills without attachment of particulars or the requisite supporting documents showing approved list by the National Treasury and the County Executive Committee from the 10 Ministry is an avenue for misappropriation of public money.
They further argue that to fund the second supplementary budget, the attorney generalproposed a reallocation of155 Million from the Ward Allocations and there is nothing in the initial budget tagged or named as Ward allocations and the same cannot just be reduced without knowing which allocation in which specific ward is being reduced to cater for the current budget.
“The Respondents’ proposal to “reduce the Ward Allocations by 155 Millions” is testimony that the Respondents have been allocating this illegal allocation to Members of County Assembly without reference to any Ward Development Fund Act, since the latter is yet to be enacted.
They said the action expos-es- certain wards to a disadvantage over others as well as discrimination since it is not possible to know what allocation is being taken out from a given ward.
They also states that both supplementary budget for the FY 2019-2020 have been characterized by opacity and lack of transparency and have been prepared, considered and approved by the executive finance,county assembly, the governor and the county government clandestinely without any form of public involvement and participation, amount to imprudent use of county resources owing to unverified and unbacked budget expenditure and estimates with no supporting documentsare discriminatory and skewed against certain sub-counties and do not comply with the requisite format contemplated under the law.